Do Retailers Really Need A CRM?
“Don’t I need a CRM before I can do that?”
This is a question asked daily by retailers around the world. Creating strong relationships with customers is essential in the retailing industry, so it’s important to consider anything that can help drive business in order to gain even more customers. But why are they asking this question now? The answer is simple: Retailers have never purchased a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. There was never a need for them to invest in this type of solution. Their point-of-sale (POS) system was the only system of record they needed.
Thanks to ever-evolving technology, however, retailers now have not only a POS system but also a marketing database, a social database, an e-commerce database and a returns database. All of this change in the industry spurs retailers into thinking they also need a CRM to consolidate or streamline customer information.
Use of CRMs is on the rise – there’s no downplaying that fact. For instance, Gartner forecasts that CRM solutions will grow to be a $36 billion dollar industry by 2017, but should retailers put their dollars in this market? CRM systems of the past, and most of the current systems today, simply measure the conversion process, analyzing one sales stage to the next. These tools can help businesses build strong relationships with their customers in order to increase customer communication and satisfaction, as well as to ultimately discover new customer opportunities. CRM solutions can also enable small- to mid-sized businesses to migrate from manual methods, like spreadsheets, to a robust, online database. When used effectively, a CRM can be one of the most valuable assets a business can invest in. The question becomes: Do retailers really need to implement a CRM into their already expansive collection of databases?